Biography of Bishop Nicholas Ridley 1500-1555

1550 Execution of Joan Bourchier

1554 Consecration of new Bishops

1555 Execution of Bishops

Around 1500 Bishop Nicholas Ridley was born.

In 1547 Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 47) was elected Bishop of Rochester.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1547. The 29th daie of June there was a solempne obsequie kept in Poules [Map] [for] the French Kinge Frances latelie departed, where was a sumptuous herse made, and the quire and the bodie of the church hanged with blacke and sett with schuchions of the armes of France, and tow hundreth torch bearers having new blacke gownes and hoodes with badges of the armes of France on their sholders, the Archbishop of Canterbery (age 57) begining the derige in his pontificalibus, the Archbishop of Yorke (age 65) and other 8 bishopps and suffragans being also in their pontificalibus, six erles and lordes of the Kinges Majestie being the cheife mourners, the Emperours Embassadour, and the French Kinges Embassadoure, and the Secretarie of Venice in their blacke mourning gownes being also there present at the same, the major and aldermen with tow hundred citizens in their best lyveries with their hoodes on their sholders present at the same also; and on the morrow also at the requiem masse, which the Archbishopp of Canterberie (age 57) songe in his pontificalibus, with the other bishopps in their pontificalibus also; and there preached at the said masse the Bishop of Rochester (age 70) [Note. Possibly Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 47) who became Bishop of Rochester in 1547], who greatlie commended in his sermon the said French King departed, for setting fourth of the Bible and New Testament in the French tonge to be reade of all his subjectes; also all the parish churches in London kept a solempne obett with knill, the bells ringing, and a herse with tow great tapers, in everie parish church.

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1547. The fourth daie of November, 1547, the Kinges Majestie (age 10) beganne his High Court of Parliament at his cittie of Westminster, his Edward the Majestic ryding from his pallace of Westminster to the church of Saint Peter [Map] in his perliament robes, with all his Lordes Spirituall and Temporall riding in their robes also; and afore the masse of the Holic Ghost there was a sermon made before the King by Doctor Ridley, Bishopp of Rochester (age 47); and after that the masse beganne, Gloria in eacelsis, the Creede, Sanctus, Benedictus, and the Agnus were all songen in Englishe; the masse ended, his Majestie with his Lordes went into the Perliament Chamber, where my Lord Chauncelor (age 50) made a grete proposition for the assembly of the said Parliament, and, that donne, the King putt of his robes, and went to his pallace at Westminster by water. Sir John Baker, knight, Chauncelor of the Tenthes, was chosen Speaker of the Commens Howse for the said Perliament.

Diary of Edward VI. 03 Apr 1550. Nicholas Ridley (age 50), befor of Rochester, made bishop of London, and received his othe.1

Thomas Thirlby (age 44), befor of Whestmuster2, made bishop of Norwich, and received his othe.

Note 1. "Item the xijth day of Aprill, he that was byshoppe of Rochester, Nicolas Rydley, was stallyd [bishop of London] by one of the byshoppe of Ely('s) chaplynes." (Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London, where several curious notices will be found of the changes which the new bishop soon made in his church and diocese.) The letters patent of Ridley's translation are printed by Rymer, xv. 222.

Note 2. Dr. Thirlby's resignation of the bishopric of "Westminster, dated 80th March, is printed in Rymer, xv. 219, from the Close roU, 4 Edw. VT. p. 1, m. 11; and at p. 221 are letters patent dated 1 April, translating him to the bishopric of Norwich, which was then vacant "by the free resignation of William (Rugge, alias Repps) late bishop" thereof. Bishop Rugge died on the 21st Sept. following.

1550 Execution of Joan Bourchier

Diary of Edward VI. 02 May 1550. Jhon (Joan) Bocher, otherwis Jhon (Joan) of Kent1, was burnt for holding that Christ was not incarnat of the Virgin Mary, being condemned the yere befor, but kept in hope of conversion; and the 30 of April the bishop of London (age 50) and the bishop of Elie2 were to perswad her. But she withstode them, and reviled the preacher (age 40) that preached at her death.3

The first paiment was paied at Cales [Map], and received by sir Thomas (Maurice) Dennis (age 42) and mr. Sharington (age 55).

Note 1. Joan Bocher, alias Knell, was a martyr for religious opinions, whose story is not related by John Foxe: but that historian mentions her incidentally in his account of the King's character, illustrating his meek nature by the following anecdote: "Hee alwaies spared and favoured the life of man: as in a certain dissertation of his once appeared, had with master Cheeke in favoring the life of heretickes: in so much that when Joane Butcher should have been burned, all the counsel could not moove him to put-to his hand, but were faine to get doctour Cranmer to perswade with him, and yet neither coulde hee with much labour induce the King so to doe, saying, What, my lord, will yee have me send her quick to the devill in her error ? So that doctour Cranmer himselfe confessed that hee had never so much to doe in all his life, as to cause the King to put-to his hand, saying that he would laie aU the charge thereof upon Cranmer before God." This story, apocryphal at the best, has been considered so far to the discredit of Cranmer (age 60) that his friends have been anxious to vindicate him. Mr. Bruce, in the Works of Roger Hutchinson, edited for the Parker Society, 1842, Preface, p. iv., has shewn that the King would not be required to sign any document on the occasion, the warrant of the council being sufficient. For the particulars of Joan Bocher and her heresy see Wilkins, Concilia, iv. 43; the General Index to the Works of the Parker Society, 1855, p. 124; also the General Index to the Works of Strype, Oxford edition. The religious insurrection in Kent, which the King has just mentioned under the date of the 26th April, was perhaps the proximate cause of her suffering; for it was on the 27th that the council issued their warrant to the lord chancellor (age 53) to make out a writ to the sheriffs of London for her execution. (Council Book.)

Note 2. Ridley (age 50) and Goodrich.

Note 3. "There preached before her, or she dyed, Scory (age 40); and she said to hym he lyed lyke a knave, &c." Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London, p. 66. The preacher was John Scory, afterwards bishop of Hereford in the reign of Elizabeth.

Diary of Edward VI. 11 Jul 1550. The bishop of London (age 50), the secretary Petre (age 45), mr. Cicel, and Goderik, wer commaundid to make certein articles according to the lawis, and put them in the submission.2

Note 2. See "the copy of the last articles sent to the bishop of Winchester," in Foxe (edit. Cattley), vi. 82.

Diary of Edward VI. 14 Jul 1550. The bishop of Winchestir (age 67) did deny the articles that the bishop of London (age 50) and the other had made.3

Note 3. See the report of the master of the horses and master secretary Petre (age 45) in Foxe (edit. Cattley), iv. 84; in p. 75, Gardiner's own account of the interview in his answer to the 14th article subsequently objected against him; and also, in p. 116, his farther account in paragraph Ixxiv. of his justificatory narrative.

Diary of Edward VI. 20 Mar 1551. The bis(hops) of Canterbury (age 61), London (age 51), Rochester [either Bishop John Ponet (age 37) or Bishop John Scory (age 41)], did conclude, to give licence to sinne was sinne; to suffre and winke at it2 for a time might be borne, so al hast possible might bee used.

Note 2. i. e. the mass, not sin in general. Sir John Hayward chose to read the passage in the latter sense, for which Strype calls him to account in his note, Kennett, ii. 315.

On 02 Aug 1551 John Veron was ordained as Deacon by Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 51) at Fulham Palace.

On 28 or 29 Sep 1551 Robert Crowley Clergyman (age 34) was ordained by Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 51).

Henry Machyn's Diary. 26 Jul 1553. The xxvj day of July cam unto the Towre my lord marqwes of Northamton (age 41), by and my lord Robart Dudley (age 21), and the bysshop of London (age 53), and ser Recherd Corbett; and after cam in to the Towre my lord cheyffe justes Chamley (age 58), the lord Montyguw (age 68), at v of the cloke at nyght.

Note. The lord Montague. The person intended by this designation was sir Edward Montague, who was lord chief justice of the common pleas, as sir Roger Cholmley was of the king's bench. The new queen appointed sir Richard Morgan and sir Thomas Bromley in their places.

Henry Machyn's Diary. 08 Mar 1554. The viij day of Marche cam owt of the Towre of London [Map] the archbysshope of Canturbere Crenmer (age 64), and bysshope of London was Rydley (age 54), and master Lathemer (age 67) condam, [i. e. quondam (bishop of Worcester).] and so to Brenfford and ther ser John Wylliam reseyvyd them, and so to Oxfford.

1554 Consecration of new Bishops

Wriothesley's Chronicle 01 Apr 1554. 01 Apr 1554. The first day of Aprill was consecrated at St. Marye Overies churche [Map] in Southwerke vi new Bishopps after the olde sorte, the Lord Chauncellor (age 54) and Bishop of Winchester (age 71) singinge the masse, the Bishop of London (age 54) and the Bishop of Durham (age 80) assistinge him.

On 01 Apr 1554 the Lord Chancellor Bishop Edmund "Bloody" Bonner of London (age 54), assisted by Bishop Stephen Gardiner (age 71), Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 54) and Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall (age 80), consecrated seven bishops at Southwark Cathedral [Map]:

Bishop George Cotes was consecrated Bishop of Chester.

Bishop Gilbert Bourne was consecrated Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Bishop James Brooks (age 41) was consecrated Bishop of Gloucester.

Bishop Maurice Griffiths (age 47) was consecrated Bishop of Rochester.

Bishop Henry Morgan was consecrated Bishop of St David's.

Bishop John White (age 44) was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln.

Bishop Robert Parfew aka Warton was consecrated Bishop of Hereford.

1555 Execution of Bishops

On 16 Oct 1555 Bishop Hugh Latimer (age 68) and Bishop Nicholas Ridley (age 55) were burned at the stake at Oxford, Oxfordshire [Map]. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (age 66) was forced to watch.

Henry Machyn's Diary. 16 Oct 1555. [The same day were burnt at Oxford for heresy doctor Latimer (age 68), late bishop of Worcester, and doctor Ridley (age 55),] late bysshope of London; [they were some] tyme grett prychers as ever was; and at ther bornyng dyd pryche doctur Smyth, sum-tyme the master of Vetyngtun colege (blank).